Since WordPress allows pretty much anyone to build a website, the playing field for starting a web venture is pretty level. However, while all sites start from the same place, it’s what happens after the initial launch that determines whether or not it’s going to be successful.
The skill that makes all the difference is the ability to generate traffic. Because there is no “build it and they will come.” Nobody is going to just start sending you visitors, you need to make a real effort to attract an audience.
Thankfully, there are many ways to do so. To help you be successful in your venture, in this article we give you a whole bunch of actionable tactics and methods to drive traffic to your newly minted WordPress website. Isn’t that a treat? You’re most welcome. Now let’s get started.
Master On-Page Optimization
At the heart of traffic generation is content. Creating high-quality, optimized content is an excellent long-term tactic to generate free traffic from search engines. However, getting there is a long road since a lot goes into creating content that ranks in Google’s top ten.
Write Awesome Headlines
Your page titles are the very first thing most users will see of your site. For that reason, it’s crucial that they grab your visitors’ attention right away and get them to click through to your site.
Thankfully, there are loads of existing headline formulas and learning resources out there:
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines
- 49 Headline Formulas to Skyrocket Conversions (And Where to Use Them)
- 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails
I also encourage you to sign up to the Smart Blogger mailing list and get their headline cheat sheet. It was written by Jon Morrow, one of the biggest bloggers out there. He really knows his stuff.
Learn SEO Copywriting
Copywriting is about everything that comes after the headline. Good copywriting enables you to create understandable, relevant content that answers user questions, is grammatically correct, and free of typos.
However, SEO copywriting is about more than that. Besides mere content creation and editing, it also involves audience research and on-page optimization. If you’d like to dive deeper into this, you can do so with this in-depth article.
Get Familiar With SEO Plugins
The easiest way to do proper on-page optimization in WordPress is use SEO plugins. They allow you to optimize SEO titles and meta description for your posts and pages as well as change global site options to make your site more digestible for search engines.
Should you be on the fence which plugin to choose, we have a comparison of Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO Pack, the two leading SEO plugins right here. In addition, we can also offer you an in-depth guide to Yoast SEO.
Start an Email List (And Do It Now!)
As any online marketer will tell you, “the money is in the list.” Email remains one of the best ways to reach your audience and keep it around. Anyone who trusts you enough to give you their email address is a valuable member of your tribe and happy to swing by your site repeatedly.
For that reason, start an email list right away, before you even have any traffic. It’s super easy, especially if you use a free service like MailChimp that also integrates well with WordPress. That way, you can keep your closest fans up to date with your latest content and stay in touch.
Generate Traffic With Social Media
Google, Bing and other search engines are not the only available traffic sources. In fact, there are many alternative search engines, many of which are social media platforms. Let’s go over some of the main platforms and how to stand out.
Twitter has almost 350 million active users and gets 2.1 billion queries from search engines per day. Many people use it to find trending topics and follow their favorite hashtags.
Success on Twitter depends on a number of different factors and it takes a while to build up a following. However, the platform orders its updates by recency. For that reason, if you follow the tips below, you can still get your content in front of a lot of eyeballs (and people to your website) regardless of how many followers you have.
- Fill out your profile — Take advantage of all the real estate your Twitter profile offers. Put up a profile pic, a background banner and, most importantly, write a bio (which may include hashtags) and include a link to your site!
- Post regularly — Regularity is everything in Twitter. If your profile is mostly dead, not a lot of people will follow you. Regularity can mean different things to different people. Come up with a schedule that you are comfortable with and stick with it. Use a tool like Buffer to make it easier on yourself.
- Use hashtags — As mentioned, many people follow hashtags to stay up to date on their area of interest. For that reason, be sure to include 1-3 relevant tags in every post. Use hashtagify.me to find the right ones.
- Use media — Studies show tweets that include images and videos get a lot more interaction than pure text tweets, so be sure to take advantage of this option.
- Network — The cool thing about Twitter is that you can directly interact with anyone on the platform. Do so by retweeting other peoples’ stuff, helping others in your niche solve their problems (especially if you have relevant content on your site) and talk to anyone interacting with your posts.
The biggest social network by a large margin. Even if the reach of Facebook pages seems to be declining, people still use the internal search to find relevant information. Here’s how to make sure it will be your content:
- Create a Facebook page —To make your page more visible in Facebook, include relevant long-tail keywords in your mission statement and description. Also add your location, especially if you are a business. The social network deems this very important for searches.
- Include hashtags — Facebook uses hashtags as well. Add a few to your posts to make them more visible to searchers.
- Share posts on your personal profile — Friends and family are always in the first wave of adopters. When they interact with your content it will also get more visible to people outside your direct sphere.
- Build a network — Get in touch with other Facebook pages in your niche and ask them to share your content. If it’s good, they shouldn’t have too many problems with that. When you rack up enough followers, you can also propose larger pages to advertise each other.
- Use groups — Groups are also a good way to get traffic. Either join an existing group, become an active member and drop links occasionally, or create your own niche group and get it to rank well. For the latter focus on engaging content and don’t forget to link to yourself.
LinkedIn is a professional network with over 450 million members. It is awesome for business networking and finding paying clients. To divert traffic from LinkedIn to your website, use the following tips:
- Share content — Use the “share an update” feature to publish your own and other peoples’ content. You can even include others in the update by using “@” as on Twitter, but do so with caution.
- Publish to Pulse — LinkedIn has its own content platform called Pulse. To make yourself more present, you can also contribute a full-blown blog posts here with a link to your website.
With close to 60 million users, this platform is another possible traffic source, especially if you create a lot of visual content (i.e. images, photos, infographics etc.). Here’s how to be successful on Pinterest:
- Fill out your profile completely — To make your profile as appealing as possible, take advantage of everything it offers. Add your logo, description and – most importantly – website address.
- Use the right images — Things that do really well on Pinterest are memes, backgrounds with text overlay, infographics, and pictures of people. Consider creating special images for Pinterest as they prefer the portrait format, use tools like Canva or Pablo for that.
- Create pins the right way — When posting your own content, include a description (200-250 characters), hashtags and direct link to your site.
- Share across multiple boards — Once you have created pins, be sure to share them across several boards. You might even consider posting the same content with different images.
The video platform is actually the second largest search engine out there. It sees three billion search queries every month and has more than a billion users across 76 different languages.
To tap into its user base for traffic, of course, you need to create videos, upload them, and include a link to your website. When they rank well, people will click on the link and come to your site.
Teaching you how to do this is somewhat beyond this article, however, Backlinko has a comprehensive guide on this very topic.
Take Advantage of Content Marketing
Blog posts are not the only way to generate traffic. After all, the saying is “content is king,” not “written content is king.” For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to use other forms of content on your site.
For example, instead of creating fresh blog posts, you can also repurpose existing articles as video tutorials, presentations, PDFs, podcasts, and infographics. You can use this to get engagement on and highly authoritative links from sites like Slideshare, YouTube, and Docstoc. This will do wonders for your SEO and traffic.
You know how they say it’s not about what you know but who? That’s as valid in the real world as it is online.
Building relationships with influencers will help your site get ahead quickly. Heavyweights in your niche linking to your site can never be a bad thing.
So, generating traffic is not all about what you do on your own site, it’s also about building meaningful relationships with others. Here’s how to do just that:
- Comment — Write insightful comments on other people’s blogs. That means something more than “great post!” Contribute to the discussion. Provide value. Follow up. This might even get others to click on your link and it will definitely put you on the author’s radar.
- Reach out directly — Talk to people in your niche directly. Email or Twitter are valid options. Again, make it about them. See how you can contribute to their life or business. Later, when you already have a relationship, you might send them your own content.
Traffic Generation in a Nutshell
Starting a new WordPress site is equal parts exciting and dreadful. The latter is because making a site successful takes a lot of effort and you can’t always be sure it will get there.
After all, building an audience is not done overnight. At the same time, it’s also not rocket science but something that has been done countless times.
The traffic generation tips above are just the beginning. Try out which strategies work well for you and follow your instincts. Start small, throw some stuff against the wall and see what sticks, then take it from there.
By Nick Schäferhoff, who is an entrepreneur, online marketer, and professional blogger from Germany. He found WordPress when he needed a website for his first business and instantly fell in love. When not building websites, creating content or helping his clients improve their online business, he can most often be found at the gym, the dojo or traveling the world with his wife.